Let's say, hypothetically, gay and derozan were to have season-ending injuries in the first game of next season. Wouldn't this be in the best long-term interests of the team? We would instantly become one of the favourites to land wiggins, and we would retain gay and derozan as assets, either for trade, or to play alongside whomever we draft. We would only have to sacrifice one year. The problem of whether to tank or hang on to our assets would be solved. We could do both.
If you agree with the above, then the league has a problem. When the best-case scenario for a team is that its star players get hurt, what kind of model for success is that? But the example of the spurs bears out the idea (with duncan being drafted the year robinson got hurt). The celtics are fortunate to be in a similar situation with rondo being out- their rebuild might only take one year. The bulls and the pacers are similar cases, where star talent (rose and george) were drafted onto already strong cores (not through injury, but mainly through luck). Most of the other strong teams in the league (heat, lakers, nets, mavs, knicks) are destination franchises whose model for success cannot be copied by a team like toronto.
Ok, so season-ending injuries to gay and derozan are unlikely and probably not desirable (since it might adversely affect their future value). But what if the league allowed teams to loan their good players to teams in contention? Wouldn't this be a win-win for all concerned? It would increase the competition at the top, while teams like Toronto could go for draft position while maintaining a core of good players. Loans exist in european football, although this movement is mainly in the opposite direction, where top teams loan out their young players to smaller clubs to have them gain experience. This could also be made part of an nba loan system, where in return for a year of derozan, we could get a year of steven adams. I would propose that the salary of the loaned player would be paid by the receiving team, so that the cap would still function to maintain competitive balance.